Toronto Knights Prepare
As a cosmopolitan city with people from a wide range of backgrounds, Toronto is a perfect site for the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, said Ontario State Deputy Alain Cayer.
Smiling and outwardly calm amid the commotion of pre-convention preparations, Cayer said that a person from any part of the world would be able to walk around Toronto and hear someone speaking his or her native language.
“We have Mass in the Archdiocese of Toronto celebrated in many different languages every Sunday,” he pointed out.
The 134th Supreme Convention mirrors the worldwide diversity of the city, with Knights coming not only from Canada and the United States, but also from Mexico, the Caribbean, Asia and Eastern Europe.
“We see the fraternity, we feel the friendship, we share the faith,” Cayer said. “We come from all parts of the world, with different backgrounds, but we are all together here as one.”
This year marks the fifth time Toronto has hosted the Supreme Convention, with previous events held in 1936, 1944, 1972 and 2001.
“It’s a great honor to be chosen to host a convention,” Cayer said. “It means so much to our Knights here to be recognized for all their hard work and accomplishments. It is also having a positive effect on our recruitment efforts because other men see how important we are as a jurisdiction as well as the many charitable and religious works we perform not only here at the convention, but throughout the year.”
The convention chairman, Arthur Peters, is in charge of 150 volunteers who are working in shifts to manage duties such as greeting delegates and their families at the airport, shuttling bishops and priests to various locations, registering people for tours of the city, organizing hospitality and arranging entertainment events.
Peters is past state deputy of Ontario and director of development for the Archdiocese of Toronto, positions that helped him involve the Knights and the archdiocese in planning for the convention.
“We put the word out for volunteers and so many brother Knights came forward,” he explained. “This was not surprising to me because Ontario always is among the tops in the Order for charitable donations and service hours.”
He also was able to keep Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and his staff updated on the preparations.
Peters said that he received many messages in the past year from Knights who told him they were looking forward to traveling to Toronto.
“They are really enthused about coming to Canada and experiencing this great city,” he noted. “We’re proud to host them and show them the great hospitality that Knights are known for. I tell people that we are welcoming the world.”